Huot center construction students repair deck at bolduc park

GILFORD — Students in the construction program at the Huot Center have been working on a project to replace worn deck boards at Bolduc Park, a project which provides them with the real-world kind of challenges which help them hone their construction skills.

Instructor Matt Towle, now in his fourth year at the Huot Center, says that it's the kind of project that he wishes he had more of for the 12 students in his Building Construction II course.

''We did another deck just down the road from here,'' says Towle, who says other projects the students have worked on this year include lockers for the Gunstock Ski Club, a chicken coop and a 12 by 20 shed.

He says that Bob Bolduc approached him about the project as an opportunity for his students to help the non-profit park, which provides golf during the summer months and cross-country skiing in the winter.

Towle says that the deck boards and steps are being replaced with a composite board which is stronger and lasts longer than wood. The boards stand up to ultraviolet light and moisture and will easily outlast the existing wooden deck frame, says Towle.

Colin Horton of Laconia, one of the students, says that he's learning a lot in the construction course and will be putting it to good use after he graduates.

''My dad's in construction and I'll be working with him,'' says Horton.

Also planning on a future in the construction field is Christopher Spooner-Bishop of Belmont, who intends to go to college and major in construction management.

''This is a great course and we learn lots of things we'll be able to use, whether in it's the construction field or as a homeowner,'' he says.

Presidential candidate participation creating buzz for annual GOP cruise

LACONIA — With six declared or potential Republican presidential candidates saying they will be on board for Belknap County Republican Committee's  dinner cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee, party activists are optimistic that the committee's one major annual fund-raiser will be a sell-out.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is the latest candidate to confirm, County Republican Chairman Alan Glassman reported yesterday. Others who have promised to attend are Wisconsin Gov., Scott Walker, former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore, former Maryland Gov. Robert Ehrlich, and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton.

Glassman said 200 tickets for the cruise on Friday, May 29, on the MS Mount Washington have been sold so far. The ticket sales will be capped at 450, a goal which he strongly felt will be attained.

Glassman said Walker's strong showing in recent polls should build interest in the cruise. Walker finished way ahead of other Republican candidates in a poll of likely Iowa voters conducted earlier this month. In that poll Walker got the support of 21 percent of likely Hawkeye State voters. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul were tied for second with 13 percent, while Texas Sen. Ted Cruz got 12 percent.

A couple other candidates, who Glassman declined to identify, are looking to see if they could fit an appearance on the cruise into their schedules. He said that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who made a brief campaign stop in Tilton yesterday, would not be able to attend because of another commitment.

While each candidate will have a chance to make a brief speech, Glassman said the candidates needed see the cruise as a change to make the most of meeting potential supporters one-on-one. "This is really a grass-roots event," he said.

Glassman also said he was happy that the candidates who will be attending are diverse, both in terms of their backgrounds and political ideology. For example, he noted that Walker stresses conservative themes, while Pataki takes more moderate positions.

Because New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary is an open primary, where Independent voters can choose either a Republican or Democratic party ballot, the candidates must be able to appeal to more than just Republican voters. "They've got to appeal more than just Republicans if they want to win the Republican primary."

Glassman said that party supporters from as far away of New Jersey are planning to make the cruise.

Cruise tickets cost $50. Proceeds will help to fund Republican campaigns, in both major and more local races. "The money we make at this year's and next year's cruises will be the money that we will be able to put into this effort," said Glassman.

Spring clean your medicine cabinet

LACONIA — When Deputy Fire Chief Sean Riley's wife died of cancer last January, he found himself a young widower with children. Stephanie Riley had been very open and public about her illness but when she passed, Sean found himself with a different issue.

He realized he had nearly 40 different kinds of prescription drugs, any one which could have been lethal to one of his children.

"I should never have kept these in the house," Riley said yesterday as he prepared to put them all in the green drug dispensary box located in the lobby of the Laconia Police Station.

"The more heroin addiction I see, the more I realized I should have taken care of these properly," he said.

Riley, who was joined by Police Chief Chris Adams, Prevention Education and Treatment Officer Eric Adams (no relation), Dr. David Strang of the Lakes Regional General Hospital and head of the emergency room, LRGHealthcare Chief of Staff Dr. Paul Racicot and his friend and co-worker Assistant Fire Chief Kirk Beattie yesterday to kick off Spring Clean Up – Don't Forget To Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinets.

The campaign is being held jointly by the police and fire departments as well as LRGHealthcare to encourage people to safely dispose of all drugs they are no longer using – the prime option being to drop them in the green drug dispensaries at the Laconia and Gilford. In Meredith, residents are asked to bring unwanted medicine to the police department during business hours and they will be disposed of properly.

Racicot said so much heroin addiction begins when young people take their parents' prescriptions. He said in the case of some drugs, people will keep extra around in case they need it another time and at some point they're taking oxycodone for a mild headache and they they're addicted.

Many will turn to heroin because it's usually a much cheaper drug, Racicot said.

"We wouldn't be doing this," said Strang. "If it wasn't a major concern in the community."

Chief Adams said the collection box has proven to be quite popular and it is emptied weekly. The N.H. State Police bring all of the drugs to a disposal site in the southern part of the state.